United Nations Special Rapporteur Calls for Input on Violence Against Women

The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women (SRVAW) launched a call for submissions on violence against women in politics, ahead of a special report on the topic to be released in October 2018 to the UN General Assembly.

In preventing or discouraging women’s political participation, violence against women in politics undermines women’s civil and political rights. Violence against women in politics threatens gender equality and the building of robust and resilient democratic institutions. The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) participated in the SRVAW’s Expert Group Meeting on Violence Against Women in Politics in March 2018 and is honored that the IFES white paper Breaking the Mold: Understanding Gender and Electoral Violence is cited in the justifications for the SRVAW’s call, among the earliest research to recognize this problem. Over the past decade, IFES has identified violence against women in elections (VAWIE) and in politics as a profound violation of electoral integrity and human rights, and worked to end it through our programs worldwide, from Haiti to Kenya to Zimbabwe and beyond. Recognizing that political violence against women happens in public spaces as well as in the domestic sphere and online, IFES is leading cutting-edge work on preventing violence against women in elections on social media and in ending impunity for this violence where ever it takes place. IFES views VAWIE as integral to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, noting that peace and a thriving democracy cannot exist where VAWIE is present.

The SRVAW is soliciting inputs and views from states and other stakeholders through June 1, 2018, on the following questions:

  1. Please provide examples of violence against women in politics? These may be acts committed against any category of politically active women (e.g. women candidates, aspirants, elected/appointed officials, public servants…) impeding women’s political participation, on equal terms with men, at all levels of decision-making.
  2. What are the main challenges to addressing violence against women in politics; e.g. impunity of perpetrators, absence of internal complaint procedures (in Parliaments or Local Governments), lack of awareness, inadequate or missing judicial protocol or recourse and/or legal framework, lack of data, etc.? How is this impacted by the different spaces - private, public, online, protected public spaces etc. - where the violence takes place?
  3. What actions could be taken to prevent, address, and/or sanction violence against women in politics and to ensure that women who experience gender-based violence in politics can obtain redress?
  4. What are examples of good practices, legal and policy frameworks for addressing violence against women in politics at international, regional and/or national levels?
  5. In your view, what further measures could be taken to address violence against women in politics, and more generally accelerate gender equality and the political empowerment of women?